AP Moller-Maersk, an integrated container logistics company, has announced its plans to launch the world’s first carbon-neutral liner vessel in 2023 to decarbonise marine operations.

The new vessel will be introduced seven years ahead of the initial 2030 plan.

With a capacity of approximately 2,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU), the methanol feeder vessel will be deployed in one of Maersk’s intra-regional networks.

Although the vessel will be able to run on standard very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), the company is planning to operate the ship on sustainable bio-methanol or carbon neutral e-methanol from day one.

Maersk CEO Søren Skou said: “AP Moller – Maersk’s ambition is to lead the way in decarbonising global logistics. Our customers expect us to help them decarbonise their global supply chains, and we are embracing the challenge, working on solving the practical, technical, and safety challenges inherent in the carbon neutral fuels we need in the future. Our ambition to have a carbon neutral fleet by 2050 was a moonshot when we announced in 2018. Today, we see it as a challenging, yet achievable target to reach.”

The company revealed that many of its clients have set or are in the process of setting science-based or zero-carbon targets for their supply chains.

Maersk fleet and strategic brands CEO Henriette Hallberg Thygesen said: “It will be a significant challenge to source an adequate supply of carbon neutral methanol within our timeline to pioneer this technology. Our success relies on customers embracing this groundbreaking product and strengthened collaboration with fuel manufacturers, technology partners, and developers to ramp up production fast enough. We believe our aspiration to put the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel in operation by 2023 is the best way to kick start the rapid scaling of carbon neutral fuels we will need.”

Maersk said that as part of its ongoing fleet replacement, all its future owned newbuilds will be fitted with dual-fuel engines.

Currently, Maersk is exploring and experimenting with numerous carbon-neutral fuel pathways.

Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, an autonomous, non-profit research and development centre, is Maersk’s major collaboration partner.

The research and development centre facilitates the development and implementation of new energy systems and technologies across different sectors and organisations.